Third album in, Sweden’s Marionette find themselves sailing down more accessible musical tributaries with ‘Nerve’. You’ve heard plenty of Swedish melodeath in the past – so what sets this sextet apart from the reams of Gothenburg acts? Well, what defined Marionette on their two previous records was their astute concentration on melody – a focus we were aware of that could bring a more mainstream broth to the boil.
That’s exactly where Marionette are with ‘Nerve’. Unnecessary Shikari-esque electronica sometimes soils their verses and there’s more of a tendency to adhere to poppy metalcore stereotypes. It’s seriously disappointing. ‘Remember Your Name’ is an exception – a powerful piece that will go into your top guilty pleasures of 2011. Regardless of any other mishaps on this record, it’s dazzlingly catchy and undeniably emotive. However, the problems of this record frustratingly return soon after. We all like a shroud of lovely ambience with a slice of crushing metal, but when it sounds like something from The Teletubbies it becomes more ridiculous than impacting. ‘Something Forgotten’ is the culprit, with attempted ‘dreamy’ verses that sound bizarrely out of place. Next it’s songwriting that becomes suspect with ‘Smile Or Die Trying’. “Never deny who you are,” with a little cringe-worthy shout “never forget what you’re made of” is evidence that lyrical inspirations are perhaps lagging. Final tracks ‘Overdose’ and ‘The Sun, The Skies, The Clarity, The Light’ jump into undiscovered ‘djent’ territory for the band – finishing the record respectively.
We were under no illusions about where Marionette could go – a tour with Dead By April underpins this. It’s just ‘where they are now’ that’s the problem. ‘Nerve”s emphasis is less on melodeath this time round, and although the intense passages can be found, they’re drowned in too much over-the-top angst, unfitting electro and poor lyrics. It would be with no surprise to see this band’s popularity excel. In terms of people-count, a little melody can go a long way, and a lot of it can go even further.